March 14, 2019 3:28 pm
Updated: March 14, 2019 5:13 pm

N.B. environmental groups receive federal funding to study Port of Saint John ecosystem

WATCH: The health of the ecosystem in and around the Port of Saint John will continue to be under the microscope, as $1.1 million in funding has been announced for four local environmental groups. As Andrew Cromwell reports, the groups will take a closer look at the health of the port's ecosystem.

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The health of the ecosystem in and around the Port of Saint John will continue to be under the microscope, as $1.1 million in funding has been announced for four local environmental groups.

The groups will take closer look at the health of the port’s ecosystem, which includes monitoring nearby water quality and the abundance and distribution of harbour seals, as well as shorebirds and seabirds.

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“This is really going to help us understand where birds are, how their behaviours might be changing over historical surveys, and it’s really important to us as kind of managers of the important bird and biodiversity area programs,” said Adam Cheeseman of Nature NB, one of the funding recipients.

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Cheeseman says there are two designated bird areas in the Port of Saint John region.

“We are also using this project to help engage more people around surveying birds and monitoring birds, understanding the importance of them in the broader ecosystem.”

Nature NB, along with the Atlantic Coastal Action Program, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and North Shore Micmac District Council are the recipients of the funding. ACAP will receive close to half of the amount for harbour monitoring and examining the harbour seal population

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The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program has been collecting information for the past couple of years. The $50-million project originated back in 2017. Saint John is one of only six ports across the country where data is being collected.

Those involved in the project are pleased Saint John is part of the research and say it provides a good opportunity to collect data they haven’t had the opportunity to gather in the past.

“As we know as the climate is changing and there are increasing pressures on natural habitats and environments,” explained Paula Noel of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“It’s going to be really important to have this thoughtfully collected data about the harbour to be able to help future decision makers.”

More than $700,000 earmarked for other groups earlier this month once again focused on the Port of Saint John. They are Eastern Charlotte Waterways, Fundy North Fishermen’s Association and Huntsman Marine Science Centre.

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